After four grim games filled with miscommunication and missed assignments, the Washington Football Team would likely lunge at the thought of having an average defense. Not exceptional, not good, but average.
Jack Del Rio's side of the ball is currently 30th in the NFL in points allowed, 29th in yards allowed and 32nd in third-down percentage. Those ranks translate to third-to-worst in the sport, fourth-to-worst and, simply, worst.
One of Del Rio's starters, Landon Collins, isn't letting the early-ish struggles dampen his optimism about the unit's future potential. To the safety, it's not a question of if things turn around, but rather when they do.
"We've just got to keep buying in, keep trusting one another and it's going to click," Collins said in a press conference on Wednesday. "Once it clicks, the sky's the limit for us."
Had Collins uttered that second sentence in, say, July, no one would've doubted him. Throughout the offseason and at training camp, the Burgundy and Gold's defense was lauded for what it did in 2020 and how much more it could do in 2021 thanks to additions like Jamin Davis, William Jackson III and Bobby McCain.
During all those conversations, the sky — and the top of the league — truly felt like the only obstacles that could stop the operation. No prediction or compliment was too positive.
But for now, it merely seems like that half of the roster is much closer to limited than limitless.
Even so, Collins insisted to the media that all that's needed to fix the plethora of problems is a bit more chemistry mixed in with a little more patience.
"It's been four weeks," he said. "Still growing as a team, still have a lot to go. Got new players that we got on our team and then guys coming back from injuries."
Collins' secondary seems like the place where the biggest disconnect between the skill of the players and the production of those players exists. Cordarrelle Patterson's long and lonely touchdown catch last Sunday in Atlanta was the latest example of the back end not being in sync with one another.
When asked Wednesday when he thinks that particular part of the defense will finally find its rhythm, Collins didn't have an exact answer. However, he likes his fellow safeties, which matters to him.
"It varies from experience, it varies from what one person feels and what one person sees," Collins said. "It goes up and down, so you don't know. But right now, we click, all of us click. Me, Bobby, Kam, all of us click, all of us click in that secondary."
"We are seeing things the same way and we're making sure we're keeping each other accountable for what we're seeing," he later added.
So, Collins' belief isn't wavering, which is similar to the vibe Del Rio gave off before the Falcons matchup. That attitude might be key to creating better results, too. When adversity hits, after all, splintering only increases the tension.
Unfortunately, it's also an outlook that fewer and fewer people possess, as the substandard performances continue to stack up for Washington. While Collins is still aiming for the sky, most would presently settle for the defense to just stand on its own two feet.